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Authorities threaten to close Al Jazeera office

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the escalation of the Yemeni government's crackdown on independent media which has now extended to the targeting of satellite television stations. Al Jazeera was the first to be targeted after a ruling party official, Mossaad Allahbi, called for the closure of the local Al Jazeera office for allegedly broadcasting news "hostile to the unity and security of Yemen."

The demand to close the Al Jazeera office comes as part of a series of hostile actions against freedom of the press and journalists in Yemen, which has affected at least eight newspapers so far. This latest action clearly shows the Yemeni government's hostility toward freedom of expression and distaste for transparency and open debate on the issues that concern the citizens of Yemen.

ANHRI condemns the government's actions and calls for independent media to be allowed to carry out their work as "they must pass on news and information to the citizens, who definitely pay no less attention and care to the interests and security of Yemen than members of the ruling party."

ANHRI thinks the attack on Al Jazeera in Yemen, as well as the restrictions it has experienced in other Arab countries, require efforts from all individuals and institutions interested in freedom of the Arab media to support this important station, which has greatly contributed to changing the perception of the role of media in the Arab world. The station is committed to meet the needs of Arab citizens to know the news and views on different issues, rather than merely paying lip service to the governments and rulers who rarely respect democracy and peoples' rights.

For information on the Yemeni government's crackdown on the press (in Arabic only), click here:

http://www.anhri.net/press/2009/pr0531.shtml
http://www.anhri.net/press/2009/pr0523.shtml

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